Lifetime Achievement Award
The Lifetime Achievement award recognizes an individual who has retired or announced their retirement during the year of the event who has at least 20 years of experience advancing clean energy, is seen as a leader in their community, and who has had a significant positive impact on the State of California and frontline communities.
Member, California Air Resources Board
Cliff Rechtschaffen was appointed to CARB in September 2023. He served as a commissioner on the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) from 2017 to December 2022 before retiring from fulltime public service. Applying an equity lens to his work, Cliff played a significant role in many of the CPUC’s key decarbonization decisions and was instrumental in the passage of the CPUC’s first Environmental & Social Justice Action Plan. Before the CPUC, he was a senior advisor to Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. working on climate change, energy and environmental issues. He was a special assistant to Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. on climate and energy issues. In a different role at the California Attorney General’s Office, Cliff litigated cases enforcing environmental protection and right-to-know laws. He has inspired many people throughout his career, including as an environmental law professor for close to a decade and a half at Golden Gate University (GGU) School of Law. Cliff helped students apply a human-centered perspective to environmental law by co-authoring the first environmental justice casebook Environmental Justice: Law, Policy and Regulation and co-founding/co-directing GGU’s Environmental Law and Justice Clinic. His passion for service was honed working as a Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyering Fellow at the Marin Legal Aid Society and serving as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson.
Youth Game-Changer Award
The Youth Game-Changer award recognizes an individual who is 18 years of age or younger, or a leader of an organization focused on working with youth who is helping to advance California toward a clean energy future by combating climate change through innovative methods and inspiring the new generation of energy experts, entrepreneurs, and leaders to change the game.
Student and Activist, Stanford University
Ava Acevedo is a youth climate activist from the Central Valley who is passionate about building collective student power to demand effective, wide-scale climate solutions. She is a core leadership team member of the Green Schools Campaign (GSC), a California youth-led movement started by former Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project. The project develops student leaders to transition their schools to 100 percent renewable energy. The 19-year-old college sophomore is already a trailblazer, having founded the Lodi Unified GSC in her hometown. She led a campaign to install solar panels on her school’s rooftops and to educate students and staff about energy efficiency and conservation. At Stanford, she is helping to lead Fossil Free Stanford, a youth-driven movement to convince the school to divest its endowment from fossil fuel companies. She is also a member of Coalition for a True School of Sustainability, which aims to disentangle Stanford's climate research from fossil fuel funding and influence.
Tribal Champion Award
The Tribal Champion award recognizes an individual who is a tribal member, tribal employee, or a person that works for a tribe who has advanced a clean energy future by combating climate change through innovative projects, long term service, dedication to implementing technology, or has served in a key coordinating role that has led to more equitable outcomes and/or transformational change for tribes or tribal communities in California.
General Manager, Hoopa Valley Public Utilities District (HVPUD)
Hoopa Valley Tribe, Hoopa, CA
Linnea Jackson is a visionary leader whose life’s mission is to serve the Hoopa Valley Tribe and her fellow tribal people by taking on legacy projects that will have generational impact. Based in the North Coast, she serves as general manager for HVPUD, overseeing the reservation’s domestic and irrigation water, solid waste management, broadband, and energy projects. Linnea is collaborative in her efforts, working with local, state, and federal partners to secure funds for energy infrastructure projects that will support community resilience and enhance grid system reliability. Linnea, who is passionate about tribal energy sovereignty, works with regional tribal partners to design and build infrastructure that will improve resiliency and energy independence. Her mentoring and social media engagement help educate and inspire peers and the next generation of leaders who will help California meet its clean energy goals.
Clean Energy Champions Awards
Clean Energy Champion awards recognizes individuals who are combating climate change and contributing to California’s clean energy future through their bold moves, leadership, and innovative ideas, while helping benefit communities in California through more equitable outcomes.
Teacher, Calexico High School
Keith Fisher is a selfless educator who transitioned from teaching social science to career and technical education transportation at Calexico High School, a public school located near the Mexico/California border in the Salton Sea region. Keith, who has taught at the school since 2017, is the instructor of the advanced auto shop class, a program that teaches students to build and maintain electric vehicles. The class is part of the Green Pathways Initiative, a collaboration between the Calexico Unified School District, Imperial Valley College, and San Diego State University. The initiative helps prepare students for careers in renewable energy and environmental sustainability. His influence has been transformative for the students who are learning about electric transportation. As a mentor, he encourages his students to pursue their interests and career goals in the green economy.
Reverend Frank Jackson, Jr.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Village Solutions Foundation (VSF)
Chairman Council of Presidents, New Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church
Inglewood and Irvine, CA
Reverend Frank Jackson, Jr. runs a faith-based community development corporation that provides mentoring and guidance to low-income and minority communities throughout Southern California on the cross-sectional issues of financial literacy, energy efficiency, and homeownership. Determined to end fossil fuels because it is good for the environment, economy, and the stability of his community, he has helped more than 7,000 low-income and senior residents save energy and money by replacing appliances and weatherizing their homes through the VSF Building A Better Community Initiative and as an Energy Savings Assistance Program coordinator. Reverend Jackson educates residents and faith-based organizations about smart energy options and wise energy stewardship. His organization is a community initiatives affiliate with the University of Southern California Center for Religion and Civic Culture – Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement.
Principal and Thought Leader, IDeAs Consulting
San Jose, CA
David Kaneda, founder of IDeAS Consulting, is a visionary leader in San Jose who designs high-performance electrical systems for buildings. He designed the first net-zero energy commercial office building in the United States in 2005, Since then, David has designed more than 40 net-zero energy projects including commercial, civic, residential, and school buildings: both new construction and retrofits. At conferences, he shares his latest strategies for creating buildings that balance energy demand and supply, using innovative electrical systems that integrate daylighting, renewable energy generation, battery storage, microgrids, EV charging, and energy efficiency. He is also working on strategies to convert existing buildings using natural gas to be all-electric and cost effective. Passionate about mentoring the next generation, David coaches students to prepare them for the elite USA Karate National Team.